By Gaius Publius on 10/04/2011 01:15:00 PM
Thanks to the always informative econ writer masaccio, we find this, from James Clifton, the chairman and CEO of Gallup (the polling people).
Yes, there's a huge jobs shortfall. No, it's not a U.S. problem, it's a global problem. And no, it's not going away soon (my emphasis):
"Of the 7 billion people on Earth, there are 5 billion adults aged 15 and older. Of these 5 billion, 3 billion tell Gallup they work or want to work. Most of these people need a full-time formal job. The problem is that there are currently only 1.2 billion full-time, formal jobs in the world. This is a potentially devastating global shortfall of about 1.8 billion good jobs. It means that global unemployment for those seeking a formal good job with a paycheck and 30+ hours of steady work approaches a staggering 50 percent, with another 10 percent wanting part-time work.
This also means that potential societal stress and instability lies within 1.8 billion people, nearly a quarter of the world’s population."
Those are huge aggregate numbers, which means a lot of societal stress. Earlier the author gloomily notes:
"If countries fail at creating jobs, their societies will fall apart. Countries, and more specifically cities, will experience suffering, instability, chaos, and eventually revolution. This is the new world that leaders will confront."
Clifton calls this "America’s next war for everything" and likens it to WWII in scale and importance. (For masaccio's take, click here. It's worth a read.)
I'm not sure I agree with jobs as a primary focus for civil unrest in the rest of this century, though there's nothing minor about this problem. The lack of jobs has a cause, which makes it a symptom as well. That cause is global corporate control of economic lives and resources. This includes banks and all industries.
So while lack of jobs is one ugly tentacle of this global beast, there are others. For example, "water is the next oil" is something I'm hearing again and again, and the anti-corporate fight over water has already been joined. (Imagine a third-world farmer not being able to drill a well on his own land, because the water rights under the entire province have been sold to Global Water, Inc (a subsidiary of Koch Industries perhaps) by a corrupt and bribe-able local government. That's the coming water world.)
The "last oil" of course — which is actual oil — is still with us. If the Oil & Gas Barons can keep a lid on the social unrest (no easy task), they're perfectly placed to sell the last drop of petroleum on the planet to the increasingly desperate at an astounding price (not including the price in pollution).
What do you call it when an addict will pay you anything for what only you have? Mission Accomplished, of course. Welcome to CorpWorld, new-century edition.
So you see, it's not just jobs, though that's a huge piece of the problem. There are lots of these tentacles. And at some point in this century that problem will have to be sorted, to the bitter end. If we're lucky, it won't happen in our personal lifetimes.
But kudos to Clifton for noticing the job numbers. A 1.8 billion shortfall certainly gets your attention.